Youth Villages Reviews

Updated October 21, 2014
Updated October 21, 2014
141 Reviews
2.9
141 Reviews
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Youth Villages CEO Patrick Lawler
Patrick Lawler
101 Ratings

Review Highlights

Pros
  • Youth Villages always works in the best interest of the children and families they serve (in 10 reviews)

  • Our frontline staff and top leadership work extra hard to make a difference every day (in 8 reviews)


Cons
  • Work-life balance is non-existent and they blame you if you cannot make it better (in 16 reviews)

  • Long hours and unexpected emergencies related to the children running away (in 15 reviews)

More Highlights

Employee Reviews

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  1. 3 people found this helpful  

    Night Monitor Position- Amazing how they take advantage of staff.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Night Monitor in Arlington, MA
    Current Employee - Night Monitor in Arlington, MA

    I have been working at Youth Villages full-time (less than an year)

    Pros

    I love working with kids and finding different ways to get to them. Barely any pros. This place is a horrible place to work.

    Cons

    The management sucks. After working your shift, they try to make you stay longer to drive kids around, & sometimes very far. Very subtly racist. You can feel the invisible barrier, and you prob won't understand unless you are someone of color. They might not all be like that but that's what's it like at the Germane Lawrence campus. No Lunch breaks. And they try to guilt you into doing things for no extra pay. Every 15 mins you will be up on your feet doing what they call "wanding".

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Stop letting your jobs get to your heads and talk to your superiors and actually try to make it a better place for staff and kids.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  2.  

    Experience and Opportunity

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Manager in Memphis, TN
    Current Employee - Manager in Memphis, TN

    I have been working at Youth Villages full-time (more than 10 years)

    Pros

    Excellent Experience. If you are going to work in the mental health field, from early on, you will get excellent front line experience that will stick with you for the rest of your career. The challenges and difficulties of the job help foster a team envrinment where everyone works together to get the job done. Since Youth Villages is leading the way nationally in child welfare services and innovation, you have the opportunity to gain a unique perspective and get it on what is being nationally recognized as a leading model and organization. Simply the excellent name Youth Villages has built for itself can be an asset in your future career if you find yourself needing to change organizations. Its hard work, from top to bottom, the nature of the work is hard. However, Youth Villages will afford you the opportunity and experience to make the most out of it. As you progress in your career in or outside of Youth Villages, you won't be basing your career off a bunch of stuff you read in a book in some class. Rather, you will be basing it off first hand experiences that you get working at Youth Villages. The company often promotes from within, so advancement opportunities abound, particularly with its expansion to other states. I started Youth Villages 12 years ago having no idea or intention that I would stay as they were just the first people that offered me a job when i graduated college. But I made the most of it and have had an excellent career as a result. People's experience could vary, but all I can do is testify to my experience and many of thsoe around me.

    Cons

    Again, its hard work and anyone who tells you otherwise is not painting the full picture. But so much of that is simply the field in which Youth Villages operates. The time can be demanding and how well you handle it can very greatly based off your personal work style. The nature of the work means that its hard to drastically change things at any given moment, because its not as if you can send the kids elsewhere while you fix the problem. The kids are always in our care and it requires people who can adapt on the go and think outside the box.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Keep seekings ways to pour into staff's whole development. Leaders are often promoted young and dthey need the experience and support to learn as they go in the field of managing people. Youth Villages has a lots of programs to support this, but keep at it and keep innovating.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  3.  

    Wonderful Organization

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Assistant Director in Memphis, TN
    Current Employee - Assistant Director in Memphis, TN

    I have been working at Youth Villages full-time (more than 10 years)

    Pros

    I have worked for Youth Villages for over 10 years now and absolutely love it. I was 23 years old when I started working here and was given so many opportunities for growth and experience working in different programs. I am now the Assistant Director over three community based programs and I have the opportunity to work with a lot staff. I believe the culture is great, everyone is so supportive of one another, and is extremely dedicated to working hard. The job is difficult and it is not a good fit for everyone because Youth Villages helps the most challenging troubled youth and families but it is so rewarding. I feel supported in my journey of growth and development and am so lucky for the opportunity that I have to work for such a great organization.

    Cons

    Working with troubled children and families is not easy and is not a good fit for everyone.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
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  5. 1 person found this helpful  

    Family Intervention Specialist

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Family Intervention Specialist in Tampa, FL
    Former Employee - Family Intervention Specialist in Tampa, FL

    I worked at Youth Villages full-time

    Pros

    It is one of the most rewarding jobs one can ever have. There are excellent opportunities for growth if one is willing to relocate.

    Cons

    Long hours and unexpected emergencies related to the children running away. Working in dangerous areas.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Create policies that ensure the safety of the counselors. Provide better pay.This job requires advance education and the current pay is less than desirable for College educated counselors.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  6. 5 people found this helpful  

    Unsupportive and ungrateful. (Knoxville and Johnson City, TN)

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Family Intervention Specialist and Transitional Living Specialist in Knoxville, TN
    Former Employee - Family Intervention Specialist and Transitional Living Specialist in Knoxville, TN

    I worked at Youth Villages full-time (more than 3 years)

    Pros

    Honestly, I believe that there are only a few pros. First, they will hire almost anyone with a bachelor's degree in a social services field and about 6 months of some kind of experience. Secondly, it is nice to make your own schedule. Third, I would say that direct supervisors (clinical supervisors) are just as bitter as the counselors, so they can be pretty easy to talk to.
    The biggest pro would be the kids that you get to work with. Some of them absolutely stole my heart, and it honestly may be the most intrinsically rewarding thing I've done.

    Cons

    There are several things wrong with this organization.

    First, I would tell various supervisors that a client would have maybe met for 30 minutes. The majority of these supervisors would ask something along the lines of "Are you sure that it wasn't closer to 45?" WE WERE NEVER DIRECTLY TOLD TO COMMIT FRAUD. Many times, at least in the Johnson City location, we would be told to complete phone sessions if we couldn't meet in person, though upper management would take action if this was discovered. I entered a note once in our system, quoting the therapist of one of my clients. I was told I needed to change the note and upper management provided me with the direct wording, even though she was not there at the time of my session.

    Second, the organization is up front about their schedules, stating that the counselors are on call starting 8am Monday to 5pm Friday, and rotating weekends. Transitional Living has to see their clients once a week, unless otherwise stated by the clinical leadership and Family Intervention Specialists (IHS) sees their families 3 times per week. Also, on the website when looking to apply (at least in my case), it states that the case load for both of these positions are 7-9 clients and 4-6 clients, respectively. What they DON'T mention is the high intensity cases that have to be seen more than these allotted times. There were many times when I was carrying a case load of 8 in IHS, and 12-13 for TL, seeing many of them more than their once a week session. Supervisors did not offer to help see our clients and expected our paperwork to be in regardless of emergencies that happened. Not only this, but the number of times you get called out for "emergencies" since you are on call. A coworker of mine literally drove to a client's house every day of the week, sometimes twice a day, because of an emergency with a family. Supervisors are supposed to conduct face-to-face "leadership field visits" with a certain number of clients on their team, but this rarely happened even with emergencies.

    Clinical Leadership at Youth Villages is horrible. There are two, fairly redundant meetings that counselors have to attend each week. "Group" is where the supervisor and her team meet, review cases, and the supervisor provides direction. "Consult" is where the supervisor and her group meet with the clinical consultant (for many regions by phone as not every program has a consultant for their office) and the consultant provides additional feedback, if there is any. These meetings are typically held on two different days, at different times. Sometimes they are combined, with the consultant joining the first meeting and adding input. Also, the credibility of some of management is questionable. There was at one point a bachelor-level supervisor providing clinical direction to someone with a master's and licensure out of one of the offices. Also, while there are some aspects of counseling in what TL does, the majority of the work can be described as case management, yet some of the upper management that provides clinical direction is licensed with their LPC, not LCSW.

    As I said on the pro's list, direct supervisors are a good ear to complain to, but they never really help, mostly out of fear of retaliation from upper management. In fact, there were many times I questioned the direction provided by upper management, but was told I needed to be quiet because it would impact my chances at promotion. Many times when I had an emergency out of the Knoxville office, i would be with my supervisor. Protocol was that she needed to call her upper management for direction. There was a day when two members of upper management were talking in an office when I had an emergency. My supervisor called several times, twice we looked around the corner as we called and both times she picked up the phone to see who was calling, hit ignore, and put it back down on her desk. My supervisor felt totally helpless because she did not feel as if she could complain to another member of upper management; the person she needed to speak to was the other person visiting with her supervisor. She felt totally helpless and it was not the only time that it happened with these two members of upper management.

    Over the course of my employment, I had two members of my immediately family pass away. When my dad passed away, there was a lot of late paperwork on my end that was late.After returning from the annual YV conference and the funeral, I sat down with my supervisor, who told me that I would have been written up for my late paperwork but I would be excused because my dad died. When my gram was in hospice right before her passing, I drove up to Ohio on a Friday, and then finished the drive on Saturday. She passed after I arrived in Michigan. My supervisors were informed every step of the way, even when she died my supervisor was one of the first people I texted. I received a long text from my supervisor (this time a different one) on Monday, while I was at my gram's funeral, that told me I did not have an excuse for my late paperwork this time as it was due on Friday before my gram died. She told me that I needed to get it in that day or be written up.

    HR, in general, was decent. However, there were several employees in HR that could not respond to e-mails, which made problems with my insurance even more difficult. When I first started, I was hired on as "pilot," which meant I carried a partial case load until I got my feet on the ground. Pilot employees are not eligible for insurance, and at Youth Villages you have to sign up for insurance within your first 90 days. We e-mailed our HR contact several times and she never responded. When the Fall came around, there was an employee contest for the annual "Staying Fit and Loving It" challenge. Every year the first bonus is earned by completing a health assessment on the insurance website. Again I tried to e-mail my HR contact...my supervisor tried...but it was not until a coworker e-mailed her, asking what I should do to participate, that she wrote back. She told us that everyone should have insurance, whether it is through YV or a spouse. I replied to her, and explained my situation, and also explained to her that due to my affectional orientation, I was not allowed to marry. Upon asking for further direction, she never responded.

    This was not the only time that Youth Villages caused troubles with my insurance. When upper management in Knoxville filed the paperwork to have me "transferred" to the Johnson City office, I was instead terminated. I discovered this and was put back into the system, but it was not until a few months later that I discovered they had not reinstated my insurance. I wrote back, asking them to reimburse me, as I had been paying for insurance out of every paycheck. They refused to repay me, and instead back-dated my coverage, stating that this was in case I had any pre-existing conditions. I informed them that I did not, but they would not reimburse me for the 3 months I was not covered. When I left the organization at the beginning of February 2014, my supervisors informed me that my insurance would be good until the end of the month. The following week I tried to order contacts, but my insurance had been canceled. The office supervisor for Johnson City instructed me to write to our HR contact, so I did. But I did not hear anything back. So my insurance was cut off twice during my employment at Youth Villages, which led me to miss out on health and vision coverage that I needed, even though payments were taken out of my check. I also never received the COBRA information that was supposed to be sent.

    YV, at the time I left, was paying either $0.44 or $0.42 per mile. This is pretty far below the suggested rate of $0.55. Many of the employees have difficulties paying for gas up front each month, as the reimbursement is not distributed until the second paycheck of each month. They also (sometimes) reimburse you for food if you are paying for food for kids. It really depends. Knoxville staff were not typically reimbursed after paying for meals for clients, but Johnson City staff were. These clients I am talking about are minors, being transported across the state. Clients from Memphis told me numerous times that they were not allowed to have snacks, and that staff would not stop for food on trips from Memphis, sometimes all the way to Cookeville or Knoxville. Knoxville staff was allowed to buy food for these clients, but were not reimbursed for it.

    It takes a psychological toll. Any social services job does. A coworker had a client who was killed while on her caseload. She was given a day or two off and was offered counseling. A client of mine tried to commit suicide. I sat for 8 hours in the hospital with him...watched him intubated, watched the hospital staff put coal on the lips to induce vomiting. I had to be at the hospital at 11 the next morning when he woke up. The next day he was discharged and I did not find out until the following week. I was not offered a day off or any counseling.

    The last thing I can think of is the compensation. There is rarely a time where employees work less than 40 hours a week, but employees are salaried and do not receive over time. I started out at 26k and ended at 33k 3 years later. I did not think this was too bad, but for the weeks that I worked 60 hours or more, my compensation came out to be less than minimum wage per hour.

    One thing I have noticed about the positive reviews for YV on this site is that the majority of them come from management, and many of them come from employees that are still employed there. If considering a job at Youth Villages, please pay attention to who did the review.
    I hope this helps.

    Also, Youth Villages provides benefits to spouses of same-sex partners, but a coworker struggled for weeks to get her partner on under her coverage. She printed off the email chains and showed them to me, and expressed her dissatisfaction that many of her other heterosexual coworkers did not have to go through this struggle. She did eventually obtain insurance for her and her spouse. Also, being a gay man, I never felt at ease or comfortable. I wrote to HR at the beginning of my employment regarding my feelings of discrimination. When I left, I was the only openly gay male in any of the East TN offices, though there were many open lesbians in my office (one had been written up several times for the same accusations brought up against me once).

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Be supportive and notice the struggles your employees are going through. This is an organization that caters to mental health of the community, and it is glaringly obviously that it does not care for the mental health of it's employees. Change that.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  7. 1 person found this helpful  

    Not the experience I was looking for.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I worked at Youth Villages

    Pros

    Client contact, learn how to develop treatment plans

    Cons

    Unsafe- visiting people's homes by yourself. Long hours, low pay

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Limit the caseload to a certain number for each employee

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  8.  

    Respectable Corporate Mission/Vision: Unfortunate Experiences at Deer Valley Locale

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Counselor in Linden, TN
    Former Employee - Counselor in Linden, TN

    I worked at Youth Villages full-time (more than an year)

    Pros

    The Teaching Counselors and Clinical Counselors are superb. The campus is beautiful if you enjoy the outdoors.

    Cons

    The upper management is the quintessential example of garden variety of incompetence. There are a few supervisors who this does not apply to. The treatment model puts absolutely no responsibility on the residents for the behaviors' of the group, which fosters an environment in which accountability, integrity, and leadership skills are practically nonexistent; my heart goes out to the residents within this facility.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    NONE...Many of the management should be terminated for the palpable insubordination and inability to gain control of this facility. I am not making this statement inclusive to all managers at Deer Valley.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
  9. 3 people found this helpful  

    A terrible/illegitimate place to work

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Family Intervention Specialist
    Former Employee - Family Intervention Specialist

    I worked at Youth Villages full-time (less than an year)

    Pros

    Was able to get my foot in the door coming right out of graduate school.

    Cons

    Work/life balance nonexistent. Example; I was on call for MY BIRTHDAY despite requesting it off weeks if not months a head of time.

    Unqualified higher management.

    Unrealistic expectations about deadlines.

    Management black lists you if they don't like you. The work environment sucks and is VERY clique-y.

    The CEO is unqualified to run a legitimate mental health agency. He is just some rich Good ol' Boy who wanted to "do some good in the world". Therefor the agency hires unqualified staff to manage qualified staff. For example, only ONE of the supervisors out of my location was a licensed social worker.

    Working in dangerous locations.

    Expected to work and drive miles and MILES even in dangerous weather conditions.

    This was legitimately THE WORST place I have ever worked and I would never recommend anyone I know to work here.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Hire qualified people. Consider that people actually have lives outside of working for you. Do not black list past employees when they put down former supervisors as a reference just because they understood the ridiculousness of working for this sorry excuse for an agency.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  10. 5 people found this helpful  

    Run and DO NOT LOOK BACK

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Birmingham, AL
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Birmingham, AL

    I worked at Youth Villages full-time (more than 3 years)

    Pros

    Developing relationships with my families.

    Cons

    1) No work like balance. You will work over 40 hours per week. No questions
    2) You are on-call 24 hours a day for your families. If a child leaves the home at ANY TIME you are expect to go out into the community and search for them. It does not matter if the neighborhood is dangerous.
    3) Documentation is on a cycle time. It must be turned in within 24 hours.
    4) Management is a like college sorority. If you do not fit into the "group" you will be outcast. They will also black ball you.
    5) They are not strength focused. If anything goes wrong it is your fault.
    6) Most workers get burned out within 3 months.

    During my three years with YV. I saw over 20 employees leave. OVER 20! Very high turn over rates for a reason.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Care about your workers. Care about their safety. These are people who have families as well.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  11. 4 people found this helpful  

    Worst job ever

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Family Intervention Specialist
    Former Employee - Family Intervention Specialist

    I worked at Youth Villages full-time (more than an year)

    Pros

    My fellow Family Intervention Specialists were troopers!

    Cons

    Wow, where do I even begin? You're on call 24 hours a day. They say you have a flexible schedule but that is a complete lie. The families you work for own your schedule. Some families lived an hour and a half away. Hours are unrealistic and you're forced to work 60-80 hours per week. One week I logged 90 hours. There were some nights that I slept two hours and then was expected to be at a staff meeting the next morning after a crisis.

    There is no concern for employee well being. They talk about making sure you have "self care" but they never really mean it. I was on vacation for a hard earned week and still had families calling me, other employees calling to ask me questions about families, and management calling me and telling me that I need to call them back immediately so that they can talk about cases.

    They also only look out for their organization. I worked with a family who was not able to care for their child. CPS clearly needed to be involved but I was told to keep my mouth shut. After working with the family for 5 months the school had reported the family to CPS so many times the state was forced to intervene. What YV doesn't know is that I was also making reports against this family when I susspected abuse. As a Social Worker I am a mandated reporter and will not take that lightly.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Pay your employees better. Be honest in interviews and talk about turn around rates. I'm sorry but any organization with this many negative reviews needs to be looked into. Their practices are sketchy at best for both employees and the families they "help".

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

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